Continued strong demand for new homes has fueled a growing challenge for homebuilders: a shortfall of available workers.
The construction industry has lost more than 2 million skilled and unskilled workers since its peak employment levels in 2006, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
An estimated 30 percent of construction workers left the industry following the Great Recession, and many haven't returned. At the same time, older generations of craftsmen are aging out of the workforce, while younger generations are slow to replace them. In the next decade, more than half of all construction business owners are expected to retire.
Millennials now represent the largest share of the American workforce, yet workers age 19-34 represent a declining share of the skilled labor workforce. And only 3 percent of young adults say they want to go into the construction trades when they start their career, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).